There’s recently been a shake-up in the organizational hierarchy at Microsoft Studios with the promotion of Matt Booty to the corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. With the promotion, Booty moves up the organizational ladder as one of the top game executives in the company, reporting directly to Phil Spencer. Booty comes from the Minecraft side of Microsoft’s games business, but his new appointment has all of Microsoft Studios reporting to him. This includes 343 Industries, Rare, Turn 10, The Coalition, Playground Games, and others.
In an interview with Spencer and Booty, the two executives paint a picture that shows that Microsoft has clearly invested a lot of money in content. According to Spencer, “It’s also become very clear to me that we’re going to invest more in content, which we are doing, and that a unified studios leadership organization was going to be critical to our long-term success.”
This content that Spencer is speaking of is clearly first-party games for the Xbox One. After a year that saw very little on that front in 2017, it appears that Microsoft as a company is gearing up to try and expand on that front. The announcement coincides with a number of rumors that suggested that Microsoft has some ambitious first-party projects on the way.
Just today a report from Eurogamer confirmed that a new open world ARPG Fable game is in the works. While just weeks before there was a laundry list of games that were rumored to be in development at Microsoft. That rumor included things that seemed like a wish list that resurrected old franchises… but with this announcement it is starting to sound like more of a reality. That previous rumor suggested that Microsoft was ready to resurrect Perfect Dark, the aforementioned Fable, Mech Assault, and others.
When you couple these rumors with recent comments from Spencer and Booty the future starts to look brighter on the first-party exclusive front for Xbox. “Content is extremely important to our strategy going forward,” says Booty… “We live and die by the great games we make.”
Perhaps Microsoft has finally heard the outcry from the Xbox community and have allocated the money to take on ambitious first-party projects that stray away from the core exclusives that Xbox owners have been getting year-in and year-out on the console. It’s clearly working for Sony and Nintendo in terms of hardware sales.